A long-term partnership between the Transport Accident Commission and AFL Victoria has given aspiring female footballers a level playing field.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan today announced the new TAC Cup Girls competition, completing the development pathway for elite junior girl players into the new AFLW league.

The TAC Cup Girls league compliments the six Towards Zero Youth Girls Academies that were established in 2014, giving girls aged 16 to 18 the opportunity to play competitively and build their football skills.

TAC and AFL Victoria have been working together for four years to give young female footballers the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

With young drivers remaining over represented in Victorian road trauma, the girls’ league will maintain the same commitment to road safety seen within the TAC Cup over the past 26 years.

AFL Girls players will participate in leadership workshops throughout the season encouraging good driving behaviour, helping Victoria achieve its Towards Zero vision for a safer future on our roads.

The Towards Zero Youth Girls Academy program has already produced AFLW talent like Katherine Smith (Sandringham Dragons / Melbourne), Lily Mithen (Geelong Falcons-Western Jets / Melbourne) and Isabella Ayre (Bendigo Pioneers / Carlton).

The five-round TAC Cup Girls season kicks off this Saturday at Punt Road Oval with the Murray Bushrangers taking on the Bendigo Pioneers.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan

“The TAC’s partnership with AFL Victoria and junior football pathways is about creating champions on the field and safe drivers on the roads.”

“It’s not only boys who play football, just like it’s not only boys who die on our roads. TAC Cup Girls gives our best young female footballers a shot at the big stage while helping to develop a new generation of safe young drivers.”

Quotes attributable to AFL Victoria CEO Steven Reaper

“Within footy circles, the TAC Cup has become synonymous with producing some of the game’s top talent. With the launch of TAC Cup Girls, we’re really excited to see Victoria’s female talent develop and one day playing on the main stage in the AFLW.”

“It’s also about creating a new generation of leaders and role-models for young Victorians. We can already see the first round of young women to come out of the Towards Zero Academies into the AFLW having a profound effect on our community, and we look forward to seeing that continue to grow.”